I’m not sleeping.
Anyone who knows me knows sleeping is something I am usually reeeeeally good at. Too good if anything. I put others to shame with how readily and easily I can fall into deep open jawed slumber. I’ve slept through earthquakes, high winds, birds mating outside my window, frequent screaming matches outside my university halls of residence door. I even got into a mate’s bed once during an after club party where I told the drug fuelled revellers in the bedroom “don’t worry chums! You carry on around me!”.
But the last couple of nights it has evaded me. Sleep, my former best friend has abandoned me. Presumably to go on an all inclusive holiday to Crete and spend its evenings with a handsome barman giggling whilst tucking cocktail umbrellas in its hair and straws under its ears.
When I was a child I suffered from reoccurring insomnia from the age of six to sixteen. It would come in bouts and waves, sometimes for a month sometimes for half a year. As if my insomnia was contracted out to a recruitment company who had to find just the right candidates for the job. Then all of a sudden my body cured itself. I stopped needing to find comfort in leaving the door open, light on, television blaring. I just started sleeping really well.
It occurs to me that my insomnia disappeared around the same time I left school and went to college. I wasn’t miserable at school but I certainly wasn’t happy. I never felt truly at ease to be myself, I felt constantly judged and constantly judged myself on every little thing that came out of my mouth. I was regularly anxious but hid it with a loud laughing bravado. I guess it manifested itself through my lack of sleep. The extent of which I hid from the rest of my family.
So whenever I have sleepless nights, it terrifies me that my insomnia will return. It will turn up with a gaudy patterned suitcase and a straw fedora exclaiming that it’s come to stay whilst Sleep is staying at its apartment in Crete.
I’ve been told by other comedians that when they did their first Edinburgh shows they had sleepless nights. It was the worry. The worry about reviews, the worry if people would come, the worry about money they had spent.
I’ve been to Edinburgh doing various bit and bobs for about six years so I am fully aware of what to expect. I’m not worried.
Fear has tied my brain into a balloon animal that is trying to untangle itself whilst I’m supposed to be asleep.
It’s not fear of anyone else. It never is. When i get afraid before I go onstage, it isn’t that I’m afraid the audience won’t laugh. I’m afraid that I won’t be as good as I know that I could be.
“YOU could have done that better”, “YOU could have put that better” often ring through my mind whilst I drive home from gigs. Even when I’ve had a good one. The very same thoughts I use to have at break times in school.
I think maybe this Edinburgh is partly about putting some of those demons to bed.
Sweet dreams guys.